There remains constant calls for Liverpool to add to their squad this summer, especially in midfield, but Jurgen Klopp levelled back and questioned who the Reds should sign for the role.
The departure of Gini Wijnaldum left a noticeable hole in Liverpool’s midfield, with the ever-reliable Dutchman having missed just 29 of the 265 games played during his time at Anfield.
It begged the question of who the Reds should target in the summer to bolster their ranks, but movement in that regard has been virtually non-existent.
Finances and balancing the squad in relation to homegrown players is a juggling act the club have needed to navigate this summer and when posed the question of no direct replacement being signed, Klopp replied with one of his own.
It was another example of a passionate and somewhat defensive answer from Klopp as he asked for a name who could be added to midfield while listing what he currently has at his disposal.
“He was the most consistently available player. I don’t think you have to hide the relationship I had with Gini and how much I love his way of play and how reliable he was. But he’s not here anymore,” Klopp said in his pre-match press conference.
“So you tell me if you would sign a midfielder and tell me the name and I’ll think about it.
“I am really interested. We can count our midfielders and you can tell me if we need to replace Gini Wijnaldum.
“We have so far, Thiago and Henderson have not been involved in pre-season, we played quite a few games with Milner, Naby Keita and Harvey.
“We have another midfield which played the second game [vs. Osasuna] with Oxlade, Fabinho and Curtis Jones – another player who can and will make the next step, an exceptional talent.
“Now you tell me which player we need. I am not angry or annoyed – I am really interested – which kind of player do you think we should sign?
“Should he score more goals than Gini, should he defend better than Fab, should he be more creative than Naby, Curtis, Ox, Harvey? What do you want?”
When posed with the desire for more goals from midfield, Klopp went on to explain that it’s an area of improvement that can come from the existing squad as Liverpool’s style of play does not create an abundance of opportunities for the position.
“So he should score more goals, makes sense. I don’t know which midfielder it is then that scores more goals from that position, we never said we don’t have to improve,” he continued.
“But to score more from midfield positions you have to create the situations for that. A midfielder has to play for us in a way that we play, and it’s not that easy that he’s in goalscoring situations.
“They have to do different jobs, we have a specific setup for our team. You see where our full-backs are in certain situations, we could have scored more goals, yes.
“It’s not about having a different player for that, it’s about different positioning in that situation and our boys can do that as well.
“I really understand it, and apart from when we signed Ali and Virg, is always looks like we don’t sign enough, but we are constantly improving the team.
“I think our fans appreciate that it’s about having a group together who is fun, exciting to watch, fighting together and 100 percent committed to the values of the club – and we have that.
“We cannot just add on players to this squad and say, ‘now let’s have a look how that works’. You have to deal with the squad for the whole year, if someone leaves then we have to think do we have to replace them?
“With Gini, it’s we have two players who are not new but can make the next step with Harvey and Curtis, and Naby can make the next step. Had a full, exceptional, pre-season we cannot ignore that.”